TRENTON, December 7, 2016—The New Jersey School Boards Association today announced that it will assist local boards of education in exploring possible legal action against a company that allegedly sold artificial turf fields to schools across the state with full knowledge that the product was defective.
In addition, NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod expressed support for state lawmakers’ demands that the Attorney General investigate the company. The legislators made their comments following a series of articles by NJ Advance Media, which operates the nj.com news site.
“The news reports should anger anyone concerned about corporate responsibility, the health of students, and the preservation of limited resources,” Feinsod said. “They allege fraud and deception that bilked taxpayers out of millions of dollars.
“We are urging school boards to have their attorneys contact NJSBA’s general counsel, who will assist districts in identifying and coordinating legal action.”
NJ Advance Media reported that, as early as 2006, executives of the company, FieldTurf, “became aware the turf, known as Duraspine, was cracking, splitting and breaking apart, long before it should, and long before the public had been promised.” Schools and municipalities “have had to replace their expensive turf fields far sooner than expected and often earlier than promised.”
One hundred sixty-four such fields were installed in New Jersey, NJ Advance Media reported.
In public statements, the company has denied allegations of fraud and said problems with the turf have not affected player safety, according to NJ Advance Media.
“The reality is that school districts have a responsibility to maintain playing fields in safe condition for their student athletes and physical education programs,” said Feinsod.
The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.